SEC complaint process coming out of the Stone Age

26 10 2010

The opening scene of the original 1987 film Wall Street, shows an investment brokerage firm using old IBM computers flashing green dot matrix data on a black screen.  It looks like the SEC if finally getting rid of those old machines and is “streamlining the complaint process”… From the Wall Street Journal:

“We will have all of it in one place, searchable, which will do a lot for us in the long run,” he said.

The system will be installed in two phases. The first will improve the agency’s ability to track and search the information it receives, Mr. Khuzami said. In a second phase, which the agency hopes to complete in 2011, more tools for analyzing the data will be put in place.

The system makes it easier to file complaints online, using a tool that prompts the person making the complaint to answer certain questions, depending on the allegation. Staff who receive telephone complaints will use a similar program that will prompt them to ask callers the same questions. SEC employees will key in handwritten complaints using the same format. This will standardize the information available to staff everywhere.

It has taken this long for the SEC to standardize the complaint process?  It is no wonder everyone and their mother seems to be able to get away with securities fraud these days.  When I need to file a trademark application, I go online, I go online, I fill it out, and I am able to search for similar marks to make sure mine is unique.  The Federal Court system is going totally electronic.  Heck, we have had EDGAR for over a decade?  Why is it that the compliance portion of the SEC innovative, while the complaint process is as antiquated as the Securities Exchange Act itself?




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